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What is Wellbutrin?
Wellbutrin is an antidepressant medication that the FDA approved for patient use in 1985.
It’s one of a class of medications called norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). These medications help increase the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine—two neurotransmitters—that are available in your brain.
By regulating the amount of these chemicals in your brain, Wellbutrin can help regulate your mood. The drug is also sold as a generic called bupropion and under Wellbutrin XL, Wellbutrin SR, Zyban, and Aplenzin.
Wellbutrin is among the most common NDRIs available on the market.
Others include dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), a medication used primarily to treat ADHD, and methylphenidate (Ritalin), a drug that treats ADHD and narcolepsy. To date, Wellbutrin is the only NDRI that is FDA-approved to treat depression in adults.
Do you need a prescription for Wellbutrin?
Not everyone can take Wellbutrin. Some patients might risk serious side effects if they began to use the medication without being under the consistent supervision of a medical professional.
That’s why Wellbutrin and its generic form, bupropion, are only available by prescription.
If you believe you might benefit from taking Wellbutrin to either treat your depressive disorder or help you quit smoking, talk to a licensed medical professional.
They will evaluate your medical history, discuss your symptoms, and, if appropriate, prescribe you the medication.
Can you buy Wellbutrin online?
If you have a prescription for Wellbutrin, buying the medication online is easy, convenient, and cost-effective.
Many online pharmacies can offer prescription drugs for much less than their retail competitors, so shopping with them can be an effective way to keep drug costs manageable.
Once you order your prescriptions, they will be delivered directly to your door.
How does Wellbutrin work?
Like other norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs), Wellbutrin works by changing the neurochemistry in your brain.
Your brain uses neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine, to help it communicate with itself and other parts of your body.
Researchers believe that norepinephrine plays a role in how you respond to stress and anxiety and how you sleep, among other things.
Dopamine is believed to play a crucial role in how you move, feel motivated, function, become aroused, and experience joy and pleasure.
Under normal circumstances, your brain regulates the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine in your body.
It does this by reabsorbing the neurotransmitters regularly—as soon as they’ve conveyed a message.
When patients take a dose of Wellbutrin, the prescription drug’s active ingredients block your brain from reabsorbing the neurotransmitters at the same rate, leaving more available for your body to use at one time.
Researchers believe that low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine are linked to symptoms of depression.
When patients take Wellbutrin to help stimulate and increase their neurotransmitters, many end up developing a better, more regulated mood, improved sleep, and a higher quality of life.
How long does it take for Wellbutrin to work?
Like many mental health medications, it may take some time for patients taking Wellbutrin to feel its full effects.
It can take up to eight weeks for the medicine to make a difference in a patient’s mood and outlook, though some may experience physical improvements in their sleep and appetite a little earlier.
Changes in sleep, hunger, and energy can be a good indication that the medication is working.
If you are taking Wellbutrin and are concerned that it isn’t helping your depression, talk to your doctor before discontinuing the medication.
If you stop taking your pills abruptly, you can develop discontinuation syndrome, an uncomfortable set of withdrawal symptoms.
These include irritability, anxiety, dizziness, upset stomach, excessive sweating, trouble balancing, sleep changes, tremors, and suicidal thoughts.
Is there a generic for Wellbutrin?
Wellbutrin is a brand-name prescription medication manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.
It is also available as a generic medication under the name bupropion. Like Wellbutrin, bupropion is only available by prescription.
To meet FDA standards, the generic form of any medication must be “bioequivalent” to the brand-name version of the drug.
It must have the same active ingredients, be available at the exact dosage, and be equally effective at treating the medical condition for which it is intended.
The difference between a generic medication and a brand-name medication is that the generic is often sold at a lower price. Purchasing generics can be a way to reduce prescription drug costs.
Most people who take Wellbutrin do not experience serious side effects. The most common include:
• Dry mouth
• Racing heart
• Sore throat
• Stomach upset or nausea
• Weight loss
A small portion of the patient population may experience more uncomfortable side effects, like:
• Disturbing thoughts
• Eye pain or vision changes (glaucoma)
• Muscle ache
• Skin rash
• Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
For most patients, there is little to no risk of seizures when taking Wellbutrin.
If you have a seizure disorder, head injury, brain tumor, or liver problems, you are at an increased risk for seizure when taking Wellbutrin.
Patients with anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorders, and those who abuse substances like drugs or alcohol or take antipsychotic medication are also at increased seizure risk.
If you take Wellbutrin and at any point begin to experience swelling in your lips, tongue, or cheeks, unusual hoarseness, difficulty breathing, or chest pain, seek medical attention immediately.
These are signs of a serious allergic reaction that can be fatal if left untreated.
Wellbutrin is available in a variety of dosage strengths.
When prescribing your medication, your doctor will evaluate your health, medical history, and condition before recommending a specific dosage.
Never take more than your recommended dose as directed. Increasing the amount of Wellbutrin you take can increase your risk of developing side effects.
If your medication is not working, talk to your doctor about increasing your dosage or switching to another drug.
There are more than 800 medications that have at least a mild interaction with Wellbutrin.
Some drug interactions can pose a severe risk to your health. Before you begin taking Wellbutrin, talk to your doctor about any prescriptions, over-the-counter supplements, or illicit drugs you might be taking to avoid harmful drug interactions.
A few common medications that can interact poorly with Wellbutrin include:
• Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine • Aripiprazole
• MAO Inhibitors
• Methylene blue
The cost of Wellbutrin varies depending on an individual’s dosage strength, insurance coverage, and local pharmacy.
If you are concerned about keeping drug costs low, shopping online for your medical treatments is an easy and convenient way to get your prescriptions at the lowest price.
You may also want to talk to your doctor about whether bupropion, a generic and less expensive form of Wellbutrin, might work for you.
Is Wellbutrin right for you?
Depression is a well-understood and highly treatable medical condition.
If you have been suffering from major depressive disorder or seasonal affective disorder symptoms for two weeks or more, talk to your doctor about whether an antidepressant like Wellbutrin is right for you.